Old and new: Veteran Justin Garrett, center, celebrates after scoring a defensive touchdown with newcomers Tray Matthews, left, and Carlton Davis
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Will Muschamp, football coach, doesn't care who Auburn's playing. He says he prepares the same way, whether it's Louisville, Jacksonville State or LSU.
Saturday, Auburn happens to be playing Jacksonville State, whose only loses last year were to Michigan State and later in the FCS playoffs.
Auburn's defensive coordinator has been working the game, trying to figure out how to fit his veterans and rookies alike into his rotating lineup, just like the way he spun the revolving door in last week's opener.
"I spent the same amount of time at the office as I did last week and that I'm going to next week and the week after that and the week after that and the week after that," Muschamp said. "You just go watch the film. You prepare."
"They are," said coach Gus Malzahn "very talented, more talented than some Division I teams."
Jacksonville State arrives for the 11 a.m. game in Jordan-Hare Stadium nestled between a season-opening win over Louisville and before the SEC opener at LSU next weekend. It will be the first game for the largest video board on the college landscape. Auburn plans to formally flip that switch — wake up! — around 10:20.
Muschamp will continue to look to build depth Saturday. And Malzahn will look for even performance from quarterback Jeremy Johnson.
Muschamp started freshman Tim Irvin last week. And he played a lot of defenders. He says he'd like to play 10-12 across the defensive front alone Saturday, and his willingness to play a variety of defenses, and array of players, promises a healthy mix, from the 10 true and redshirt freshmen on the defensive roster who played, to transfer Blake Countess, who played three positions.
"He played nickel, he played safety, he played corner in the game," Muschamp said. "Very intelligent guy."
Auburn also rotated linebackers Justin Garrett, Kris Frost, Cassanova McKinzy and Tre' Williams.
Young or old, Muschamp says, "I've got confidence in those guys to play well. We put a lot of stress on those guys in practice situations to go out and perform well for us."
The secondary certainly featured a healthy mix of veterans and freshmen.
"They knew going in the game they were playing and they all played very meaningful snaps," Muschamp said. "They were in upwards of 18, 20, 25 snaps in the game."
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine